Looking for a vivid way to demonstrate the difference between Mercury Racing outboard power packages on the transoms of Wright Performance 360 sport catamarans, the team at Performance Boat Center created a head-to-head comparison captured on video late last week. The crew at the full-service, multi-brand powerboat dealership in Osage Beach, Mo., took out two identically equipped 36-footers—each with 60 gallons of fuel and powered by a pair of outboards. One cat had twin supercharged V-8 450Rs, the other had supercharged six-cylinder 400Rs.
To demonstrate the difference in Mercury Racing outboard power on its 36-foot Wright Performance sport catamaran, Performance Boat Center set up a side-by-side test session—captured on video, which you can watch on YouTube—last week (click image to enlarge).
Myrick Coil and Rusty Williams, who captured a Super Stock-class title this year for Performance Boat Center in the inaugural American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series, divided the test-driving duties. Coil drove the 450R-powered Wright Powerboat 360, while Rusty Williams handled its 400R-equipped counterpart.
The 450R and 400R have significantly different operating parameters and gear reductions. The 450R tops out at 6,400 rpm and comes with a 1.60:1 gear ratio. The 400R has a maximum operating speed of 7,000 rpm and is equipped with a 1.75:1 gear reduction. To level the playing field, the PBC crew opted to set up each boat with 34-inch-pitch five-blade CNC propellers from Mercury Racing.
“We wanted a real apples-to-apples comparison, captured on video, that we could show to our customers who are deciding between the 450R and 400R,” Coil said. “They’re both great engines and great options for the Wright Performance 360.”
From 40 mph, they ran the boats—starting side by side—for approximately one mile. By the end of the run, the 450R-powered boat reached 124 to 125 mph and the 400R powered boat reached 117 to 118 mph. To validate their results, Coil and Williams made several passes.
But the test, said Coil, really wasn’t about top speed, which are four to five miles per hour faster for each cat with bigger-pitch propellers (and whatever additional distance it takes to squeeze out the last few ticks of speed). It was about acceleration.
At the end of the mile, the 450R-powered cat consistently finished the mile 2.5 to 2.6 seconds ahead of the 400R-powered cat. But even that didn’t tell the whole story, Coil said.
“The 450 boat would jump out ahead immediately and pull away, but then hold there,” he explained. “That doesn’t seem like all that much unless you’re in the boats. You definitely notice the acceleration difference.
Check out the slideshow above for more images from the dual Wright Performance 360 sport cat test session.
“You also notice the difference in sound,” he added. “The 400R sounds great but is pretty quiet. The 450R definitely has a roar to it. But both are fantastic choices for this boat.”
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